Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Post-Impressionism (pt. 12)

Similarly, this painting of The Café Terrace at Night is expressive of the artist's ability to magically bring us into an environment.  This painting exhibits beautiful colors that exquisitely convey the aspects of this scene.  The warm, golden light of the café, inviting and homely, glistens and glimmers near the center of the work, with a light shining near the center and an awning hanging overhead.  A red carpet is laid out underneath all the tables and chairs, inviting people to come and sit.  The red is warm to match the yellow of the café; it establishes the place as a location of activity and socializing.  We can see people sitting in the distance in groups.  On the right half of the painting, the scene opens out into the night, blue and black, receding far into the background.  Small, dim lights glow from windows in the distance as stars shine in the sky above.  Everything else is dark and shadowed in the night, which would look foreboding if the warm café wasn't in the foreground making us feel comfortable and safe.  The stars are painted far too large, disproportionately large, but Van Gogh felt they were significant to the scene and therefore sought to exaggerate their presence.  After all, few sights can compare in beauty to a clear, starlit night sky.  The splendor and tranquility of such a scene is enchanting, and Van Gogh paints from a perspective of someone just about to walk into the door of the café, as if his painting's invitation is too good to refuse.  It's at night, and yet it's so colorful, so vibrant, and so expressive, that it almost makes no difference.  The imaginative quality in this work no doubt speaks for itself.  It is a picturesque scene, majestic and beautiful.

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